October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month globally. This is an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Usually we would join in with the global Pink Day in early October however, due to the passing of TS Erika, this year the Dominica Cancer Society has designated Tuesday 27th October as ‘Pink Day’ in Dominica.
Many people associate the colour pink with breast cancer awareness. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go and need your help! You may be wondering how you can help. Here are some suggestions:
Wear something pink to show your support for breast cancer awareness. When you join the hundreds of thousands of people who take part in wearing pink, you become part of a collective force of scientists, supporters and people affected by breast cancer. You may also organize fund- raising activities with a pink theme and make a donation to the Dominica Cancer Society or someone within your community whom you know has been impacted by breast cancer.
Learn how to do your monthly Breast Self Examination (BSE), set up a monthly schedule and stick to it. For females, the best time is 7-10 days after your period. For males (yes men can get breast cancer!) or females who are no longer having a period, choose a time in the month to do the BSE and stick to the schedule.
Remind other people to do their monthly BSE. and for women 40 and over, encourage them to schedule a mammogram and other cancer screening procedures such as a “PAP smear”
Join the Youth Arm of the Dominica Cancer Society by emailing us on firstname.lastname@example.org. Be like North East Comprehensive and form a group/club in your school to do peer education and advocacy about breast cancer and to raise funds for any of your peers who have may be lost a loved one to cancer.
Learn about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and share this information with others. For example:
Lump, hard knot or thickening inside the breast or underarm area
Swelling, warmth, redness or darkening of the breast
Change in the size or shape of the breast
Dimpling or puckering of the skin
Itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple
Pulling in of your nipple or other parts of the breast
Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
New pain in one spot that doesn’t go away
In breast cancer the outcome depends on how soon the cancer is diagnosed. So it’s very important to do self-examination and encourage other women to do so too. Remember “early detection saves lives” and a diagnosis of breast cancer is not a death certificate. Our support group has over 100 survivors.
Let us come together to fight cancer in Dominica. We have all lost too many friends and relatives already. If you can, buy a T Shirt and join the Dominica Cancer Society, as we “walk for cancer care” on Saturday 31st October, 2015 from Mams in Massacre or Melvina’s in Pointe Michel starting at 4pm.